Yesterday we honored Equal Pay Day 2022. As a reminder, the day was created to raise awareness of the gender pay gap between men and women’s wages. Here are some of the things we did as a company to honor the day:
- Our teams wore red to build awareness and solidarity for pay inequities that women, underrepresented genders, and minorities face. The color red symbolizes the fact that these groups are still collectively ‘in the red’ when compared to the pay of the average man.
- Hosted a company-wide fireside chat with Ginny Lee, a former senior executive in the payroll industry and current Check advisor. She helped build awareness for some of the challenges women and minorities face in the working world and led a discussion around steps we can take to improve.
- Created new Equal Pay Day company commitments for the next 12 months, and set goals around what we plan to accomplish as a company before the date next year.
This day was also a reminder of the areas we fell short last year and the work we have ahead. Below is a retrospective look at what we did well, what we could have improved, and how we plan to continue the fight to reduce pay inequities over the next year.
What went well last year
Last year our CEO, Andrew Brown, publicly made two commitments to how Check would double down on our work towards reducing the gender pay gap.
- Ensuring fair and equal pay internally. This meant building clear compensation bands, built-in reviews of how we’re doing, and transparent communication to our team of where we’re falling short.
- Leveraging our data to highlight inequality and help drive change. As an embedded payroll platform, Check has the unique ability to leverage our data and privileged perspective to help others better understand the trends and pay practices of industries across the United States, and join the fight to fix them.
These commitments had a great impact on our company. They aligned our employees around our shared goal of solving pay inequities. This meant employees felt empowered to spend working hours brainstorming, creating, and pushing forward ideas for equal pay. Three separate workstreams emerged at Check to make progress towards bolstering internal education, leveraging our data to help other companies make smarter decisions around equal pay, and bringing consistent awareness to the challenges and opportunities of this fight.
They also enabled us to create much needed rules and procedures about compensation at Check that many companies don’t prioritize until later stages. In our last blog post, we suggested that companies create clear and consistent salary bands for employees. According to the Harvard Gazette “men are far more at ease with self-promotion than women, which contributes to a broad disparity in promotions and pay.” To combat this, Check created salary bands for each position on our team. We both publish them internally before recruiting begins and include them in our external job postings. We also built a process to review our employees’ compensation twice per year. This ensures that no one is paid less than the full fair market value for their work.
Taking this one step further, here is the entire list of company salary bands for Check as a series B company. Our goal with sharing these publicly is twofold: first to honor our culture of transparency, and second to hopefully inspire other companies to build salary bands early and revisit them often. Since raising our Series C, we have rebuilt our salary bands to meet the evolving needs of our business. The refreshed bands include new roles that didn’t exist before on our team, and reflect the natural rebalancing of cash compensation and equity that often happens in later stage technology companies. As we continue to grow and mature as an organization we expect that more such changes will be needed, and we believe they are crucial in maintaining an effective system of equitable pay practices.
Where we fell short
Our biggest takeaway reflecting on our 2021 equal pay efforts is that we still have a long road ahead. And, it’s not an easy one. Salary bands are a great way to empower women, underrepresented genders, and minorities to advocate for themselves, but they don’t completely prevent pay gaps between genders. In future compensation review cycles we will be including equity analysis as a part of our calibration process. By measuring in real time how our process affects employees of all genders, races, and ethnicities, we can proactively identify disparate impact, interrogate our practices and decisions, and make adjustments to ensure fairness.
We also reflected on our gender diversity hiring over the last year. While we are not far off from hitting our gender diversity goals at Check as a whole, we recognize that our leadership team is male dominated. Out of the 9 person leadership team there are only 2 women. We acknowledge that this isn’t good enough, and we are both committed and actively working to address this issue. The reality is that most small companies set lofty goals around diversity but struggle to hit them. We have taken steps to ensure it is top of mind for the entire company moving forward. 1 of our 5 company goals for the year is dedicated to improving this imbalance. We have an entire work-stream focused on diversity hiring as well as one whose charter is focused on inclusion and nurturing existing talent. But, we have also decided to be radically transparent with the good and the bad to hold ourselves accountable to achieving what we believe is right.
Our Equal Pay Day goals for 2022
We have ambitious goals for 2022. At the highest level, we have re-committed to pay transparency and equity internally, and to leveraging our privilege to educate and inspire other companies to fight the gender pay gap. Here are some of the tactical things we plan to accomplish:
- We recently purchased a new URL, equalpayday.com. Right now it is simply an empty domain. Over the course of the next year and beyond we plan to turn it into a resource hub for technology companies looking to better understand and fight pay inequities.
- Leveraging our payroll data, we plan to build out a web application with comprehensive analytics at the junction of gender and pay. Our hope is that companies of all shapes and sizes can leverage this dashboard to make more informed decisions.
- Maintain radical transparency about our journey towards fighting pay inequities internally: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
We know this work isn’t easy, but we are inspired by the positive change we have been able to create over the last year of concerted effort. If you are interested in getting involved in our Equal Pay Day work, reach out to us here.